Dear Dr. Frankie, I Am in Love With a Married Woman
Dr. Frankie Bashan
Photo by: Cheryl Mazak
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I fell totally in love with a married but confused woman who rocked my world and tipped my boat. We are both in our 50s and we met about a year ago. During our time together I learned some things about her marriage and the way her husband treated her that were really hard to hear. Her parents raised her to value material objects and financial security. She put everything she had into her marriage. Last year she told me that her marriage was over and she had already told her husband. I was really surprised to hear this. In August she told me she was filing for divorce. I learned the day after she filed for divorce she fell and broke her back. Shortly after her fall she severed ties with me. I have never been hurt like this before. The really disappointing thing is how much we opened up to each other.
I felt like she was throwing me away for no reason. I did something I'm very ashamed of when I knew she was dumping me without any good cause or reason. I e-mailed her husband and I apologized to him and said I meant him no harm. But I also told him what a monster he was to her. I felt dead inside and wondered why this wonderful woman went back to him. For the money? Children? I have no answers and she never told me anything. I feel so lost now without her and sad in my heart.
I’m so sad that we shared so much love with each other but it came to such a sad ending. Would I want her back-yes indeed. Some of my friends told me to write to her and apologize for writing to her husband. But what I said was the truth. Friends also tell me to give her space to figure things out, but I don't want to die leaving this world with her hating me. Please Dr. Frankie, if you have any advice I would truly love to hear from you. —Heartbroken
I’m sorry that you are experiencing so much suffering. It sounds as if one source of your pain is your confusion why a woman who shares such a deep emotional connection with you, would choose to stay in her unhappy marriage. As difficult as it is to believe, your girlfriend’s vanishing act is probably not an indicator that she no longer loves you. Breaking one’s back is a debilitating, crippling, life changing experience. An accident such as this one will cause anyone to run to immediate safety, comfort and familiarity. Despite her love and feelings for you, many might say it would not be wise for her to move forward with the divorce given her immediate need to focus on her health. Your girlfriend needed to put her health first. It sounds like she needs all the support from her family that she can get, secondary to breaking her back.
A divorce is one of the most devastating and traumatic life experiences anyone can go through. That, coupled with a broken back, is an overwhelmingly scary scenario. Your girlfriend probably made the decision to focus on her physical recovery and the comfort of family life, given her physical, emotional and probably financial dependence on her husband. If it helps, remind yourself that your girlfriend cared for you deeply and it sounds like you shared an emotional connection that was lacking in her marriage. Unfortunately for both of you, uncontrollable circumstances developed; divorce and pursuing a deeper relationship with you was probably too overwhelming.
Your girlfriend’s decision to stay in her marriage for comfort is a common one. Many people aren’t happy in their marriages but they continue to remain in them because of fear and the terrifying unknown—even without the additional burden of a serious health condition. You never know what the future may hold, but for now you will need to find a way to move on with your life. Though it is a cliché, it is most often true: time will eventually dull your pain.
Your decision to write a letter to your girlfriend’s husband wasn’t necessarily a terrible one. However, it may have had the opposite effect of what you were hoping for, and served only to push your girlfriend farther away from you. But have compassion for yourself and remember that people do erratic and uncharacteristic things when emotions are involved.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I have a really great friend who I think I am falling for. She is single as well. We have been friends for a couple of years now. Each one of us has had a difficult time recovering from what I would call obsessive crushes on our exes. It’s as if we keep looping back to our crushes and aren’t able to move on. We don’t talk about our exes as often now and I think each of us may finally be ready to move on. There has always been talk between my friend and I about us dating. She says she never wants to get married again; mind you she was married to a man before (not the ex she has the crush on). I would one day like to marry, if not her someone. We have so many things in common and similar struggles in our lives that we have overcome. We live a few states away from each other and talk regularly. Should I address my growing feelings with my love interest/friend or just let things flow where they may? —Baffled
It sounds like you and your friend have a very comfortable and close relationship. I absolutely suggest that you bring up your feelings to your friend. It sounds as if you are not the only one wondering where the relationship is headed. Hopefully your feelings will be mutual and the two of you can explore a relationship beyond a friendship. If she does not share a romantic interest then at least you have given yourself the chance to reconcile your relationship. You can experience the sadness that would naturally come with unrequited romantic feelings and then get past those feelings. You and your friend could then focus on developing the friendship without each of you wondering what the other is feeling. Having the discussion will hopefully alleviate any curiosity or question about a romantic future.
Dear Dr Frankie,
This weekend at a party, one of my girl friends whom I've known for almost a year asked me how I would feel if we hooked up. I was too shocked to believe what I just had heard so I was kinda weird about it and I said it was betraying her boyfriend, right? After this, she got all weird and wanted to go home before she cheated on her boyfriend. Since that day it has been weird and she has been avoiding me, but today she asked to talk to me and said we could no longer be friends. She said it was not because of what happened, but because I've been flirting with her male friends (in a playful way) and that it was not cool. I couldn't help but to wonder if that was the real reason that we could not be friends. She also told me she felt uncomfortable when I told her she looked sexy or called her babe (like I always do with everybody, I'm nice like that). Do you think she might be into me and is afraid that she can't help herself from hooking up with me if we continue to be friends? I'd really like to know your opinion on this. Please help me. —Confused
It sounds as if there might be a few different things going on here. The most obvious possibility is that your friend may be experiencing romantic feelings towards you that are uncomfortable for her. If this is the case, her feelings are also frightening to her for all the obvious reasons (judgment or scorn of friends/family, religious implications, bias of society) and also because she is currently in a relationship that she might not be ready to consider ending.
On the other hand being curious about kissing a woman certainly does not mean that she is a lesbian. Many women who consider themselves straight and lead perfectly happy “straight” lives, have kissed (or more) another woman. Your friend may be ashamed and embarrassed that she attempted to kiss you because not only did you turn her down, but you also highlighted the fact that she would be cheating on her boyfriend. It is possible that your friend feels embarrassed for behaving inappropriately with you, and is now ashamed because of it. She might also be angry with you for rejecting her, and is attempting to make you feel badly by rejecting you in return. By pointing out that you make inappropriate comments about her appearance she is justifying her statement that she does not want to be friends.
I can’t exclude the possibility that your friend is attracted to you. Her desire to sever your friendship could be an excuse for her to avoid facing her fears of being attracted to a woman. By avoiding this possibility, she is able to avoid facing her own sexuality and the possibility of ending her relationship with her boyfriend. Consider all these possibilities or combinations of possibilities and make your decision.